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Embattled tower is appealing theft conviction

Last updated: August 14. 2014 12:14AM - 2809 Views
By Roger T. DuPuis II rdupuis@civitasmedia.com



Glodzik
Glodzik
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Doors were opening and closing around towing contractor Leo A. Glodzik III on Wednesday afternoon.
 
As FBI agents were busy trudging in and out of LAG Transport in Duryea, Wilkes-Barre city officials were posting a notice stating that another Glodzik business interest, LAG Towing on Carey Avenue, was unfit for human habitation due to violating code for lack of services.
 
What brought the forces of federal and city government down on the embattled tower's holdings in rapid succession?
 
Like much else in Glodzik's long, controversial story, that remained something of a mystery.
 
Efforts to reach Glodzik or his attorney, Joseph Sklarosky Sr., were not immediately successful.
 
FBI Public Affairs Specialist Carrie Adamowski confirmed in an email asking about LAG Transport that “we had agents at that location today,” but Adamowski added that she could not discuss the nature of the visit.
 
Adamowski did say later Wednesday that no one had been taken into custody in connection with the case.
 
Efforts to reach city spokeswoman Liza Prokop regarding the posting at LAG Towing were not immediately successful. Efforts to reach Glodzik for comment were also unsuccessful.
 
These latest developments in the case of the embattled towing company owner come as Glodzik appeals a theft conviction in Luzerne County Court.
 
Glodzik, 43, of Wilkes-Barre, was charged with two counts of theft after he removed $2,100 in cash from a vehicle he towed to his city garage on Jan. 29, 2013, having been told the vehicle was involved in a drug arrest. The money was left in the vehicle as part of an FBI sting operation.
 
According to police, Glodzik kept $1,000 and counted out $1,100 to give to Daniel Mimnaugh, an undercover state trooper who has since retired.
 
A county jury on May 15 convicted Glodzik on a single count of theft while acquitting him on a second theft count.
 
At trial, Glodzik's defense team, which included attorneys Joseph Sklarosky Sr. and his son, Michael Sklarosky, said the charges were held over Glodzik's head by federal investigators looking for evidence against Wilkes-Barre city officials.
 
“The FBI never wanted Leo,” Michael Sklarosky said. But when he couldn't provide “dirt” on City Hall, they arrested Glodzik.
 
In a July 17 interview with The Times Leader, Joseph Sklarosky Sr. insisted that his client was not the target of a federal investigation, refuting Luzerne County First Assistant District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce's contention at a bail hearing that morning that Glodzik was under federal investigation and “has sufficient reason to flee.”
 
Glodzik is challenging the conviction in state Superior Court, claiming among other things that presiding Judge Lesa Gelb mistakenly allowed Mimnaugh to interpret what Glodzik meant by alleged hand gestures, and the evidence was insufficient to convict Glodzik due to the fact the undercover trooper directed him to remove and count the cash.
 
Prosecutors responded to the appeal by stating that they presented sufficient evidence, which resulted in the theft conviction.
 
Gelb on July 11 sentenced Glodzik to three to 12 months in the county correctional facility, but on July 17 allowed him to remain free on bail pending his appeal.
 
One of the terms set by Gelb was that Glodzik would require the court's permission to travel outside Luzerne County, including to visit family in Lackawanna County.
 
Glodzik has been indefinitely suspended from his exclusive towing contract with the city since he was arrested on May 31, 2013.

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